From its stunning architecture to its sinfully delicious cuisine, San Sebastian is truly a feast for the senses.
There’s so much to see, do and eat here that packing it all in can be impossible! But if you only have 24 hours in San Sebastian, don’t worry. It’s still possible to get a feel for the city’s unique culture and fascinating history in a short amount of time. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in San Sebastian so you don’t miss the best of the best.
Breakfast like a local
Start off your 24 hours in San Sebastian with the most important meal of the day. It may seem obvious, but as one of Europe’s best foodie cities, each meal here is an event to be savored (both literally and figuratively). Whether you want to treat yourself to churros or prefer a classic tostada, there are plenty of wonderful little cafes and bakeries where you can start your day off right.
Walk along Playa de la Concha
After breakfast, walk off your meal with a relaxing stroll along San Sebastian’s most famous beach. We know what you’re thinking: “So many sights to see and you’re telling me to go to the beach?” Trust us on this one! Playa de la Concha is no ordinary beach. With its unique shell shape and elegant promenade, it’s considered one of the best urban beaches in Europe. We suggest getting there early in the morning, as its popularity with locals and tourists alike cause it to get more crowded during the day.
Get lost in the Old Town and eat lunch
Spending 24 hours in San Sebastian isn’t as overwhelming as trying to cram all the major sights in another city into just one short day. Its walkability and easygoing lifestyle make it possible to enjoy your short time without feeling like you’re missing something. Take some time to get lost in the streets of the gorgeous Old Town (Parte Vieja). This emblematic district holds rich history and is still a quintessential cultural hotspot even today.
Eventually, you’ll probably get hungry. Remember, mealtimes in Spain are different—most locals won’t even think about lunch until 2 p.m. or even later! Around that time, head to one of our favorite places to eat in the Old Town. Whether you’re craving classic pintxos or innovative, modern cuisine, you’re sure to find something that will make your tastebuds happy.
Hike Mount Urgull to visit Mota Castle and Casa de la Historia
Despite its location close to the city center, Mount Urgull might just be San Sebastian’s best-kept secret. Many locals haven’t even climbed to the top of this beautiful little viewpoint, where you can enjoy wonderful views over the whole city. If you’re looking for the best views during your 24 hours in San Sebastian, this is a must.
While you’re at the top of the hill, be sure to check out historic Mota Castle (Subida al Castillo Kalea, s/n) at the summit. The oldest surviving ramparts of this structure date back to the 12th century! It’s only appropriate that the castle now houses one of the most important museums in San Sebastian. Casa de la Historia is a fascinating local history museum that will give you a closer look into how San Sebastian’s unique past helped shape it into the city we know and love today.
Eat your way around town on a pintxos tour
End your 24 hours in San Sebastian on the most delicious note possible! In the evening, join us for our Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour. Over the course of 3 fun-filled hours, we’ll make our way across some of the best pintxos bars most tourists have never heard of. Not only will you enjoy great food in great company, but you’ll also get valuable insight into San Sebastian’s foodie culture that will come in handy on your next visit!
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.